THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
ACS International School Hillingdon is the first school in Europe to offer the Global Citizens Diploma (GCD), a qualification that goes beyond academic results to acknowledge exceptional citizenship and service that students undertake to become global citizens.
ACS says that the GCD is a valuable addition to a university or job application. It allows High School students to demonstrate skills, personality and values beyond their academic grades. Additional to a personal statement, it can provide a tangible and internationally recognized qualification.
The GCD comprises 16 key elements, which are split into core values, competencies and areas of expertise, and include elements such as: community engagement, global understanding, intercultural communication, wilderness engagement, work experience, artistic expression and leadership. Students log a series of ‘stories’ describing the activities they have undertaken to showcase that they have completed and reflected on the required element.
Through a bespoke application built by ACS Hillingdon’s Coordinator for Digital Teaching & Learning, Alex Reid, students submit their work through the ‘Toddle’ app, using multiple formats and media to complete their stories in written format, as a video, as audio, as a photo collage and more.
The award can be completed to three different levels: Global Citizens Certificate (GCC), the GCD or the GCD+. All High School students at ACS Hillingdon are required to complete at least the GCC before they graduate, but are encouraged to go on to complete the full GCD. To support students in developing the skills required to complete their GCD activities, Lisa Blair, ACS Hillingdon’s Upper School Principal has introduced weekly Personal Development Programme (PDP) lessons for all High School (age 14 to 18) students.
A successful pilot programme involved around a dozen ACS Hillingdon High School students. Grade 11 student Ellie has completed the Core Value: Community Engagement by volunteering for over a year with Young Healthwatch Hillingdon, a charity established to enable young people to reach out to people in their age group and help them with their physical and mental health.
Audra, an American student in Grade 11, completed the Core Value: Inter-Cultural Communication by reflecting on how studying foreign languages has immersed her in European culture. Grade 11 student, Gemma, earned the Competency: Wilderness Engagement by writing about her six years spent attending Nature Camp, where she learned to cherish the environment and the planet.